1967 saw the release of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the Beach Boys' Smiley Smile. Sgt. Pepper was a complete and revolutionary album, full of weird effects and songs about drugs. Smiley Smile was also a revolutionary album, full of weird effects and songs about drugs. But it was not a finished album. Brian went through another breakdown, this time caused by LSD, and the album he released wound up a pale imitation of what he had intended to produce. Sgt. Pepper came to reflect the state of popular culture in 1967 - it was the height of flower power, arty progressive music that seemed to influence the social fabric, and of the youth movement's naive sense that a new age was about to dawn.
As many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, creating a phenomenon of cultural and political rebellion known as "The Summer of Love". While hippies also gathered in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and across Europe, San Francisco was the center of the hippie revolution, a melting pot of music, psychoactive drugs, sexual freedom, creative expression, and politics. The Summer of Love became a defining moment of the 1960s, as the hippie counterculture movement came into public awareness. This unprecedented gathering of young people is often considered to have been a social experiment, because of alternative lifestyles that became common, both during the summer itself and during subsequent years. These lifestyles included communal living; the free and communal sharing of resources, often among total strangers; and free love.
Top 20 Singles of 1967
1. The Last Waltz - Engelbert Humperdinck
Arnold George Dorsey, one of ten siblings of a typically British family, studied saxophone as a boy. At the age of 17, he found himself playing at a pub that sponsored a singing contest. Goaded by his friends to enter, he put down his sax and for the first time revealed another vocal talent: impersonations, which paved the way for a successful singing career. Taking on the name of a classical composer, Humperdinck became a household name internationally in 1967 with the release of his first single, 'Release Me', which was quickly followed by 'The Last Waltz' and 'Man Without Love'. Few people realize that it was Humperdinck, not Elvis, who made famous the sideburns and flamboyant leather jumpsuits that became Elvis' trademark outfit in his later years.
2. This Is My Song - Petula Clark / Harry Secombe (shared)
Comic actor Charles Chaplin showed a hidden facet of his artistic side when he wrote the lyrics for 'This Is My Song' for the soundtrack of the movie Countness of Hong Kong, starring Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando. Chaplin initially wanted Al Jolson to record "This is My Song" but was unaware Jolson had long been dead. When finally convinced that his first choice wasn't available, Chaplin offered the song to Petula Clark, who was his neighbour in Switzerland. In the movie, 'This is My Song' is heard only as an instrumental.
Clark recorded versions of the song in French, Italian, and German for the European market, but thought the English lyrics were insipid and had to be coerced by her husband into recording it in that language, believing it would only be used in the movie and not be released on record. As she had with her earlier single, "My Love," Clark fought Warner Brothers not to release "This is My Song," but lost the battle. One week after its release, it went to No.1 on the US charts. Harry Secombe's version was released before Clark's and spent its first week in release at No.1 on the UK charts. "Don't Sleep In The Subway", written by Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch, was also a top 10 hit for Petula Clark in 1967.
hear the song online
3. Sadie (The Cleaning Lady) - Johnny Farnham (right)
After being discovered by an accountant, Daryl Sambell, the fresh faced migrant teenager named Johnny Farnham became a regular on the TV show, Kommotion. This led to him being chosen to record a commercial for the airline TAA around its 'Susan Jones' theme. His distinctive voice was brought to the attention of EMI who signed him up. The first single, 'Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)', an American composition, was not to Johnny's liking - it still isn't - as he did not consider such a novelty song as "his style". The public disagreed and the single launched his career; it became the biggest selling locally made single, moving in excess of 180,000 copies. Not wanting to be typecast as a novelty singer, Farnham followed it up with a crossover song - "Underneath The Arches" - and the straight ballad, "Friday Kind of Monday", both of which charted well.
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4. Somethin' Stupid - Nancy & Frank Sinatra
Only Frank Sinatra could record a song called 'Something Stupid' and turn it into a multi-million seller! A year earlier, his daughter Nancy had out-shone him with a couple of hits of her own - 'These Boots Are Made For Walkin', 'How Does That Grab Ya, Darlin' and the theme song from the James Bond movie, 'You Only Live Twice' - so they decided to cut a single together; 'Something Stupid' was that single. In that same year she recorded more duets, "Summer Wine", "Jackson" and "Lady Bird", but this time with her producer, Lee Hazelwood, as well providing uncredited backing vocals for Hazelwood's first solo hit, "Girls In Paris".
hear the song online | video with Nancy singing the song with her brother, Frank Sinatra Jnr.
5. Itchycoo Park - Small Faces (right)
This song very much epitomises what became known as the Summer of Love, peace and drugs, being one of a handful of definitive 1960s songs that defined the moment. The title comes from an overgrown bomb-site wasteland called Little Ilford Park in Millais Avenue, London, where songwriter Ronnie Lane used to play. An "Itchycoo" is slang for a flower found in the park called a Stinging Nettle, which can burn the skin if touched.
Small Faces was the name used by the group, Faces, before Rod Stewart joined. They were a group from East London, England that were heavily influenced by American rhythm and blues. They were founded in 1965 by members Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Jimmy Winston (replaced by Ian McLagan). When Rod became their lead singer ("Stay With Me" was their first single) they dropped the "Small" part of their name to give them a new identity. M-People covered "Itchycoo Park" in 1995 - it was big hit in the UK, but many radio DJs were so outraged that someone would dare to cover what was considered a classic, they refused to play it. The lyrics are about skipping school to get high, but at the time, The Small Faces claimed it was much more innocent to ensure airplay.
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6. Snoopy vs The Red Baron - The Royal Guardsmen
A novelty song about the imaginary World War I antics of a cartoon beagle from the comic strip, Peanuts. It spawned three sequels: "The Return of the Red Baron," "Snoopy's Christmas," and "Snoopy for President." The only non-Snoopy themed song The Royal Guardsman had a hit with was 'Baby Let's Wait'. In the early '60s cartoonist Charles M Shultz began drawing Snoopy, Charlie Brown's pet beagle in his cartoon strip, Peanuts, in various engagements of battle with the Red Baron, using his doghouse as his own imaginary Sopwith Camel biplane.
In the mid '60s the dialogue was featured in a TV animation, A boy named Charlie Brown, and in subsequent Peanuts TV specials Snoopy would engage in additional battles. The infamous Red Baron was Baron Manfred von Richthofen, flying for the Germans in War I. Flying a bright red plane, the Red Baron was famous for downing 80 enemy aircraft, far surpassing a pilot named Boelcke; he was finally brought down by either Australian ground troops or a British Pilot Capt. Brown in April 1918. The plane was ravaged for souvenirs, and it was found that Richthofen was killed by a single bullet to the chest. He was 25 years old. It is a little known fact that Captain Arthur Brown, the man credited with shooting the Red Baron out of the skies, was nicknamed "Snoopy".
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7. Up, Up & Away - The Fifth Dimension (right)
'Up, Up and Away', produced by Johnny Rivers on his Soul City label, is also the name of the debut album by American group The Fifth Dimension, released in 1967 (see 1967 in music). The title track was released as their second single (the first was "Go Where You Wanna Go") and became a major hit worldwide. Jimmy Webb, a prolific songwriter who wrote "MacArthur Park" as well as many of Glen Campbell's hits, is the song's author. Webb was inspired by a balloon that his friend William F. Williams flew on promotions for radio station KMEN. Both men thought the song could be used in a planned documentary which never eventuated. The song won four Grammy awards. During the 1970s, Trans Australian Airlines used this song for an advertisment, using the phrase "Up, up and away, with TAA, the friendly, friendly way" as its tagline, after it was first used in a similar way by Trans World Airlines (TWA). In the summer of 1969 Fifth Dimension member Florence LaRue married the group's then manager, Marc Gordon, in a balloon to honor the success of the song.
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8. Georgy Girl - The Seekers (right)
'Georgy Girl' was written for and was featured in the 1966 movie of the same name, for which it was the title song. Set in London, the film is a comedy/romance starring Lynn Redgrave. The Seekers sang two different sets of lyrics over the credits and the titles. The lyrics in the movie (over both the opening and closing credits) differ in several ways from the single version. Tom Springfield, who wrote most of The Seekers' hit songs, composed 'Georgy Girl' with Jim Dale.
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9. I'm A Believer - The Monkees (right)
The Monkees' second single after 'Last Train to Clarkesville', 'I'm a Believer' stayed at No.1 for eight weeks, having been released towards the end of the first season of their television show (1966). A Niel Diamond composition, the lead vocals were sung by drummer Micky Dolenz. As with all the Monkees' early songs, the band members played no instruments on the recording. The producers were not convinced they were good enough to play like a real band as they had been selected for their singing and acting abilities and not their ability to play instruments. This became a huge point of contention as the group, all of whom were musicians, fought to play their own songs. Regarding this, Michael Nesmith once said, "To say that The Monkees are a band is like saying Lenord Nimoy is a Vulcan!"
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10. Dedicated To The One I Love - The Mamas and The Papas (right)
Written by Ralph Bass and Lowman Pauling, members of The 5 Royales who first recorded the song. Guitarist Pauling was a big influence on Steve Cropper (Stax) and Eric Clapton. A version by The Shirelles was a minor hit in 1959. The 5 Royales saw a re-release of their own version chart at No.81 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. Later that year, The Shirelles re-released their version and viewed it rocket up the chart to No.3. The subsequent remake by The Mamas and The Papas went to No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. The lead singer was Mama Michelle Phillips. It was the first time Michelle was given the lead over Mama Cass Elliott in any of their songs and she handled it like the true professional she is.
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11. Gimme Little Sign - Brenton Wood
In the early 1960s, Louisiana born Alfred Jesse Smith adopted the name of his home district and decided to go solo after five years singing doo-wop with a number of groups. Inspired by Jesse Belvin and Sam Cooke, Wood began to cultivate his songwriting skills and also became an accomplished pianist. In the spring of 1967 the title song of his "The Oogum Boogum Song" album reached No.19 on the R&B charts. But the real star of the album was this inconspicuous number hidden on the second side - 'Gimme Little Sign' - unique not only for its reggae/blues beat, but also for the fact that the title of the song is never mentioned in the lyrics. Despite a continuous presence on the recording scene, Wood was never able to duplicate the success he enjoyed here.
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12. Two Of Us - Jackie Trent & Tony Hatch (right)
Tony Hatch had been labelled as the British Burt Bcharach, and for good reason. His songwriting and production efforts are legendary and many a singer, including Petula Clark and The Searchers, owe their success to him. In 1964, he signed up singer Jackie Trent, who he married two years later. They celebrated their union by writing and recording 'Two Of Us', which became a huge hit. The pair immediately found themselves in demand on the concert and cabaret circuit, adding yet another dimension to Tony's career. He and Jackie, now known affectionately in Britain as 'Mr & Mrs Music', also wrote Petula Clark's 1967 hits 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' and 'The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener'.
hear the song online
13. The Monkees (theme song) - The Monkees
The third Monkees hit, the TV show's theme song, was never intended to be released as a single, as their record company believed no one would buy it, but pressure from record shops who had to put up with the complaints of the buying public caused them to change their mind. Their fans voted with their pockets and turned the song into a top 10 hit. At the time of the band's formation, its producers saw The Monkees as a Beatles-like band. At the start, the band members provided vocals, and were given some performing and production opportunities, but they eventually fought for and earned the right to collectively supervise all musical output under the band's name.
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14. The Letter - The Box Tops (right)
Nashville songwriter Wayne Carson Thompson was inspired to write this song after his father gave him the line "Give me a ticket for an aeroplane." Thompson gave the song to an as-yet unnamed band headed by 16-year old Alex Chilton, who had auditioned for him. Thompson didn't like the singing, believing the lead vocal was too husky, and wasn't fond of the production either. The addition of the jet sound "didn't make sense" to him, but he allowed it, and the rest is history.
When Chilton's group recorded this they still did not have a name. One band member suggested, "Let's have a contest and everybody can send in 50 cents and a box top." The contest never happened as producer Dan Penn then dubbed them The Box Tops and the name stuck. At one minute and fifty eight seconds long, it is the shortest song ever to hit No.1. Chilton's gravel-voiced lead vocal was not his natural voice - he once attributed it to lack of sleep the night before the recording was made. He is said to have had trouble immitating it at concerts in later years and because of this, the band has often been accused of changing lead singers without telling the public.
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15. A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You - The Monkees Neil Diamond had been writing songs since he was a youth, and began recording his own compositions in 1962. Four years on, as his single, 'Solitary Man', began riding the charts, two songs Neil had written and already recorded (but not yet released) - 'I'm A Believer' and 'A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You' - were covered and released by a new band, The Monkees. Those two songs helped put The Monkees on the map, and elevated Diamond's status as a major songwriter, even though this one's lyrics are remarkably similar to The Beatles' 'We Can Work It Out', released a year earlier.
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16. Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane - The Beatles (right)
Though The Beatles were at the height of their popularity in 1967, this was the only single they released in that year. Albums had become their mainstay - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour were released in 1967. Both songs on this single are lifted from the latter album; both are surreal trips into the childhoods of Lennon ('Strawberry Fields') and McCartney ('Penny Lane'), immortalising forever a Salvation Army Orphanage in Liverpool, which is not far from Penny Lane.
At the beginning of 'Stawberry Fields Forever', John taps out his initials "J. L." in Morse Code and at the end he says 'cranberry sauce' which, when played backwards, has been interpreted as "Paul is dead". Both tracks feature the trumpet - the piccolo trumpet on 'Penny Lane' was played by David Mason of the London Symphony Orchestra; the trumpet on 'Strawberry Fields' was played by Mason's fellow orchestra member Phillip Jones. The 'Strawberry Fields Forever' promotional film featured here stwas filmed on 30th and 31st January 1967 in Knole Park in Sevenoaks, London, and was directed by Swedish TV director Peter Goldmann.
Paul McCartney was sitting at a bus shelter waiting for John Lennon to meet him on Penny Lane, a street near their houses in Liverpool, England. While sitting there Paul jotted down the things he saw, including a barber's shop with pictures of its clients and a nurse selling poppies for Remembrance Day (November 11th, the day World War 1 officially ended). He later turned these into the song we now know. Penny Lane still contains the bank and barber's shop mentioned in the song, however the shelter in the middle of the roundabout where the nurse sells the poppies has now become a restaurant named Sgt. Pepper's Bistro.
When John and Paul were young they used to meet at the Penny Lane bus station as it was a hub to get them anywhere else they wanted to go and was centrally located to all of them. The trumpet part was added after the rest of the song was finished. McCartney was watching the BBC when he saw a group called The New Philharmonia perform Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto No.2." He got the idea to add a trumpet part, and asked the group's trumpet player, Dave Mason, to play on this. Mason brought 9 trumpets to the session, eventually deciding to use a B-flat piccolo trumpet. Mason, who is not the same Dave Mason from the group Traffic, played on a few other Beatles songs, including "A Day In The Life," "Magical Mystery Tour," and "All You Need Is Love."
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17. Massachusetts (The Light Went Out In) - The Bee Gees (right)
The Bee Gees right Australia in November 1966 to try their luck in Britain. Ironically, as they boarded the Fairsky that would take them to fame and fortune there, their latest - and breakthrough - single, 'Spicks and Specs', was rocketing up the charts in Australia, bringing them the success that thus far had alluded them, and led them to leave Australia. Upon arrival in Britain, they came under the wing of Robert Stigwood who took them straight into a studio to record a number of songs they had written. Of these songs, 'New York Mining Disaster: 1941' and 'Holiday' were released and sold well on both sides of the Atlantic so the trio headed Stateside to help sales along.
Whilst in New York they wrote 'Massachusetts', which refers ro the Northeast Blackout of 1965. Robin Gibb explained: "We have never been there but we loved the word and there is always something magic about American place names. It only works with British names if you do it as a folk song. Roger Whittaker did that with 'Durham Town.'" The song was actually written for Judith Durham of The Seekers to sing along with a song called 'Far Shore', but The Bee Gees were unable to get the songs to her, so they recorded them themselves.
'Massachusetts' gave them their big break internationally, with worldwide sales of over 5 million copies. The Seekers did eventually record the song - but they broke up in 1968 before the album it was to be included on was completed. Their recording was first released on a 1998 compilation album - The Seekers: The Ultimate Collection - which also included 'Far Shore'. After reuniting and touring Australia again perhaps for the last time in 2003, the Seekers were moved to perform the song as a tribute to Maurice after his untimely death. 'New York Mining Disaster: 1941' was inspired by the mining disaster in Aberfan, Wales of 21st October 1966, in which a coal mine tailings heap shifted and buried 40 houses, a farm and a school. In total, 144 people were killed, 116 of whom were children, most of them between the ages of seven and 10. Five teachers were also killed in the accident. Only a handful of children were rescued from the rubble.
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18. Ruby Tuesday / Let's Spend The Night Together - The Rolling Stones (right)
'Ruby Tuesday', said to be about a groupie, may have been inspired by Linda Keith, who was Keith Richard's girlfriend around the time the song was written. Richards and Brian Jones wrote most of it, but in keeping with Stones tradition, it was credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Recalls Richards: "That's one of those things - some chick you've broken up with. And all you've got right is the piano and the guitar and a pair of panties. And it's goodbye, you know". Brian Jones, lead guitarist until his death in 1969, plays the recorder in this song.
A large double-bass was used; Bill Wyman plucked the notes while Richards played it with a bow. 'Ruby Tuesday' was supposed to be the B-side of 'Let's Spend the Night Together', but many radio stations shied away from the sexual implications of that song, so they played 'Ruby Tuesday' instead and it became the hit. When The Stones performed 'Let's Spend the Night Together' on American TV, they were told to change the words to 'Let's spend some time together', as the original words might offend. Jagger complied, but rolled his eyes every time he sang the modified words.
hear the song online | Melanie Safka's cover
19. San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair) - Scott McKenzie
John Phillips of The Mamas And The Papas wrote this as the unofficial anthem for the Monterey Pop Festival, a three-day concert event held 16-18th June 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California. Phillips helped organize the Festival. The Monterey Pop Festival embodied the themes of San Francisco as a focal point for the counterculture and is generally regarded as a focal point of the "Summer of Love" in 1967. It also became the template for future music festivals, notably the Woodstock Festival two years later.
The song was one of the big hippie hits and summed up the Hippie culture perfectly. Phillips played guitar on this track and produced it with Lou Adler. The session musicians who played on it were top notch: Joe Osborne on bass, Hal Blaine on drums and Larry Knechtel on keyboards. They were members of "The Wrecking Crew," who played on many of Phil Spector's productions. Scott McKenzie was in a group called The Journeymen with John Phillips. McKenzie's only other solo hit was the follow up, "Like An Old Time Movie". By the end of the '60s he'd gone to live in the desert. In the late 1980s he co-wrote the Beach Boys No.1 single "Kokomo".
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20. Kind of A Drag - The Buckinghams
If ever there was a quintessential break-up song, this is it. This two minute ode to lost love was written and recorded by five teenagers from Chicago's west side, who had been drawn together by music, but wound up in the international spotlight when one of their songs went to No.1. They landed a showcase on WGN TV's All Time Hits, and succeeded in recording their first original song on USA Records. After signing with Columbia Records, they had five US top 10 hits, the biggest and only international success being "Kind of a Drag". It would eventually sell over one million copies and become their only gold selling record. "Kind of a Drag" was written by Chicago-based songwriter, Jim Holvay, who had been performing with a group called The Mob. The members of the band who recorded the song were Carl Giammarese (Lead vocals and guitar), Nick Fortuna (Bass and vocals), Tom Scheckel (Drums), Bob Abrams (Guitar and vocals), Bruce Soboroff (Keyboards and vocals). The band was named after a notable Chicago landmark, Buckingham Fountain).
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5. Living In A Child's Dream - Masters Apprentices (right)
Hailing from Adelaide, The Masters as they were known, enjoyed four years at the top, recording some of the most memorable classics in Aussie rock history. 'Living In A Child's Dream', the band's third single, was written by guitarist Mick Bower, who unfortunately had a nervous breakdown as the single began climbing the charts; Bower was then forced to leave the group. This setback and constant membership changes had little effect on the band's success, however. They eventually parted company in 1971 after an unsuccessful attempt to break into the British market.
6. Minnie The Moocher - The Cherokees
Named after an ice cream, The Cherokees was formed in 1961 to back Melbourne vocalist Johnny Chester. Over the years they switched from being an instrumental band doing Shadows covers to a vocal outfit specialising in comic jugband revivals. They reached the peak of their popularity in 1967 with two hits, 'Oh Mona' and 'Minnie The Moocher'. Both were revivals of old Nat Gonella songs, 'Minnie The Moocher' having been written in 1931 for Cab Galloway. In 1968, The Cherokees toured with The Monkees and many who attended the concerts claim they gave the better performance of the two. In spite of this, the band members went their seperate ways soon after. The song was popularised again in the 1980s by its performance by Galloway in the movie The Blues Brothers.
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7. Simon Says - Groove
Groove came together in 1967 with the intention of being a supergroup, as all band members were experienced musicians who had enjoyed success in other bands. They being well known, their music was readily accepted by the record buying public and their first single, a cover of the Isley Brothers and Platters hit, 'Simon Says', was an instant success. The recording highlighted Peter Williams' gritty, soulful voice atop one of the tightest and most potent attempts at this musical genre yet heard from an Aussie group. Groove subsequently won the Hoadleys National Battle of the Bands; there prize was a trip to England, by which time their fourth single, 'Relax Me', had been released. Like so many Australian bands of that time, their failure to crack the British market led to their breakup in 1970.
8. Ooh La La - Normie Rowe
Like many before and after him who felt they had gone as far as they could in Australia, Normie Roe went to England in September 1966 where he recorded a number of songs. The sessions produced four new singles - "Ooh La La", "It's Not Easy" / Mary Mary", "Turn On The Love Light" and "Can't Do Without Your Love". "Ooh La La" and its follow-up, the superb ballad "It's Not Easy" were both Top 5 hits in Sydney and Melbourne, and "Ooh La La" even made it into the lower end of the British Top 40. Rowe worked in England for ten months and toured with the likes of Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity, The Spencer Davis Group, Kiki Dee, Gene Pitney and The Troggs. High hopes were held for a British breakthrough, and in the early months of 1967 the pages of the Australian music magazine Go-Set were filled with breathless predictions of imminent UK stardom, but it never materialised.
At the end of 1966 Rowe had been voted Australia's best male singer in the first Go-Set Pop Poll. In June 1967, Normie and The Playboys travelled to North America, supporting Roy Orbison on a US tour, and along with The Seekers he represented Australia in a performance at Expo '67 in Montreal, Canada. He returned to Australia in July, where he appeared as a special guest at the Hoadleys Battle Of The Sounds. Rowe had more chart success in late 1967 with "Going Home" / "I Don't Care and But I Know" / "Sunshine Secret'. Another single, "Turn Down Day" charted in Melbourne. But in September it all came crashing down when he received his call-up notice for national service. In October he and The Playboys parted ways.
hear the song online
9. Friday On My Mind - The Easybeats
In July 1966, The Easybeats made what was becoming the almost obligatory for Aussie pop artists - a trip to England to make the big time over there. They did better than most; the recordings they made upon arrival produced a number of singles that sold well. Among them was 'Friday On My Mind', which ranks high on the list of classic Australian rock songs. It was written by band members Harry Vanda and George Young, who by now had honed their songwriting skills and produced a world class song that has stood the test of time. Vanda describes the song as reminiscent of the days where the band members lived in hostels in Sydney as "New Australians," where they hung out for the end of the week because of the fun it brought.
Though the song has long been termed a "working class anthem", George Young maintained it had "more to do with their outlook on the world than any class statement". According to Harry Vanda, the track's distinctive guitar opening was inspired by a film performance featuring The Swingle Singers: "It went tudutudutudu, which made us all laugh. In the train back from the gig, we were imitating them and suddenly it sounded good. They became the first notes of Friday On My Mind."
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10. What's Wrong With The Way I Live / 9.50 - The Twilights
Hailing out of Adelaide with Glenn Shorrock as lead singer and Clem (Paddy) McCartney with back-up vocals, The Twilights imitated the harmony style that had been pioneered by The Beatles, duplicating it with uncanny accuracy in their live performances. Songs by The Who, The Beatles, The Searchers and The Hollies were all given the treatment, and Aelaide's young people loved it. By 1966, they had their first national hit and continued recording with similar success until 1969, when Lurie Pryor announced he was leaving the band. Unsure as to who should replace him, the band members agreed to go their separate ways.
1967 was definitely their finest year, with 6 top 40 songs in Australia. In the early days, as their popularity increased, band member Terry Britten began writing songs. '9.50' was his first composition to become a top 10 hit. 'What's Wrong With The Way I Live', written by the Hollies' Graham Nash, Alan Clarke and Terry Hicks, is a cover of a Hollies song, the B-side of their first single, '(Ain't That) Just Like Me' (released May 1963). This was The Twilight's third top 10 single. It was recorded in EMI's famous Abbey Road studios in London during their trip to England, which was their prize for winning the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds. They were fronted by two lead singers, Glenn Shorrock (later of the Little River Band) and .
video the video online
Other Hits and Songs from 1967
What Am I Doing Here With You? - Bev Harrell
The first and biggest hit for Adelaide teenager Bev Harrell, the song was written by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, British based songwriters whose compositions include 'Secret Agent Man' (Johnny Rivers) and 'Must To Avoid' (Herman's Hermits). Sloan, who recorded the original version of the song himself, is best-known as the composer of Barry Maguire's protest song, 'Eve Of Destruction', 'Take Me For What I'm Worth' (The Searchers) and 'I Found A Girl' (Jan & Dean). Harrell was a regular on the Australian music TV shows Bandstand and Kommotion until she moved overseas in 1970. View the video online
Coalman - Ronnie Burns
Melbourne singer Ronnie Burns emerged in 1964 as a member of a Beatles influenced band called The Flies, and went on to a successful solo career. This, his first single, was a double-sided hit with 'All The King's Horses'. Both songs were written by Bee Gees Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb. Both sides of Ronnie's next charting single, "Exit Stage Right"/"In The Morning" (1967) were also Bee Gees compositions. All four songs used the backing tracks from a Bee Gees recording session that were put down in June or July 1966, Barry Gibb's vocals were simply removed and replaced by Ronnie's. Unreleased by the Bee Gees at the time, they appeared on their 1970 album Inception/Nostalgia using the same backing tracks. hear the song online
Light My Fire - The Doors
The Doors' signature song "Light My Fire" first appeared on their debut album; it was a huge hit as a single and launched them to stardom. The Doors' record company thought it was too long to get radio play, so the guitar solos were edited down for the single to make it considerably shorter. Many stations played the 6:50 album version anyway. Since the single was a shortened version, fans had to buy the album to get the extended mix, which helped album sales. Most of the lyrics were written by Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger. He wanted to write about one of the elements: fire, air, earth, and water. Lead singer Jim Morrison (right) wrote some of the second verse, and Ray Manzarek came up with the organ intro.
The song's chord progression was inspired by John Coltrane's "My Favourite Things", a version of which Julie Andrews sang in the film, The Sound of Music. The producers of The Ed Sullivan Show asked the band to change the line "Girl we couldn't get much higher" for their appearance in 1967. Morrison said he would, but sung the original words anyway. Afterwards, he told Sullivan that he was nervous and simply forgot to change the line. The explanation wasn't accepted, and The Doors were never invited back. For some unknown reason, The Doors sold the recording rights of this song to Jose Feliciano, whose version reached No.3 in 1968. View the video online
A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum (right)
Procol Harum, and their one hit, would have to be the most famous one-hit wonders of all time. The song's music, compiled by Gary Booker, is said to be based on "Sleepers, Awake," one of the movements in Bach's Suite No. 3 in D Major. The opening organ solo isn't "Sleepers Awake", however, but a brilliant bit of faux-Bach probably created by band member Matthew Fisher, who filtered recollections of Bach through his own creativity to come up with something new. His intro was not part of the original recording and was very much as an after-thought.
Many felt Fisher deserved a writing credit for this very key aspect of the song's enduring appeal. The origin and meaning of the words are anyone's guess. One source claims the lyrics are from a poem by Keith Reid, and were a collection of abstract phrases about boy/girl relationships using sailing metaphors. It sounds very profound, but they were in all probability little more than a spoof of the psychedelic lyrics popular that began appearing in an increasing number of songs at the time. It is generally accepted these days that the lyrics reflect the variety of conversations that could be heard at high-brow parties in Britain in the swinging sixties, and that the title of the song is merely a reference to a girl at one such party throwing up after having mixed one too many drinks.
The meaning of the song is as obscure as the meaning of the band's name. Gary Brooker claims the band's manager at the time "phoned up and said he'd found a name. We said, 'What is it?' 'Procol Harum.' 'Oh, great.' And it sounds like us, in fact, it sounds like what we sound like, so that was that. He didn't just pluck it out of the air, it was a Pedigree name of a cat of a friend of his. 'What does it mean? We didn't know, so we had to find out. We did find out that we actually had got the name wrong over the telephone, we spelt it wrong. But in Latin, the cat's name was 'Procul' with a 'u' and 'Harun' with an 'n' on the end, 'Beyond these things' in Latin. We got round to saying that Procol Harum in fact meant 'Beyond these things', which was a nice coincidence: at least it didn't mean, 'I'm going to town to buy a cow' or something." View the video online
Nights In White Satin - The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues were formed in Birmingham in the early sixties and were immediately successful, going to No.1 with their second single Go Now. As the sixties progressed their music evolved into a more lush, psychedelic sound and with the arrival of Justin Hayward and John Lodge the classic line up came together. The Moody Blues recorded this epic rock classic with the The London Festival Orchestra, which, in reality, never actually existed - it is simply the name given to the musicians brought together to make this album. The original idea was for the group and an orchestra to record a rock version of Dvorak's New World Symphony, which their record company would use to demonstrate enhanced stereo sound technology.
The song was written by Justin Hayward, who joined the band the year before, and was inspired by his fascination for a set of white satin sheets someone had given him. He couldnt sleep in them as he had a beard at the time, thus the line: "nights in white satin never reaching the end". The poem at the end of the song was recorded separately. It is called "Late Lament" and was written by Moody Blues drummer, Graeme Edge, and read by keyboard player Mike Pinder. The album, Days of Future Passed, from which the single is lifted was a concept album based around different times of day. For example, "Dawn Is a Feeling" and "Tuesday Afternoon." This song was last on the album because it represented night time. It was a watershed album that merged classical music with pop, and opened broad horizons for artists like The Beatles, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield and others to enter. With this album, the former blues outfit became more of a psychedelic/orchestral band and developed a strong, devoted following. View the video online
Carrie Anne - The Hollies (right)
Tony Hicks (lead guitarist) began writing this song starting with the words 'Hey Mister Man' - this was around the time that The Byrds were charting with their cover of Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man". According to Hicks, Carrie Anne was the nearest girl's name they could find to Mister Man; Allan Clarke added the middle section. If one listens closely to the chorus, Clarke is heard singing all three parts of the harmony.
Though it has never been confirmed or denied, the song is believed to be about British singer and actress Marianne Faithfull, who at the time was Mick Jagger's girlfriend. As is the case with many of The Hollies songs, "Carrie Anne" features some unusual instrumentation, including a steel drum solo. A pedal steel guitar is used in "Jennifer Eccles", 12-string guitars in "Bus Stop" and "Look Through Any Window" and a banjo in "Stop, Stop, Stop" and "What's Wrong With The Way I Live". View the video online
The Beat Goes On - Sonny & Cher
Released on their album, In Case You're in Love, and then as a single, this song is often incorrectly referred to as "And The Beat Goes On", due to the fact the closing lyric adds the word "and" to the song's title (the actual title has no "and"). There was an unrelated song released in 1980 actually called "And The Beat Goes On" (recorded by The Whispers). "The Beat Goes On" was sung at Sonny Bono's funeral, and that phrase also appears on his tombstone. He wrote the song; The Turtles provided the backing. View the video online
Mellow Yellow - Donovan (right)
On 24th October 1966 Epic released the rollicking, brass-laden single "Mellow Yellow", arranged by John Paul Jones. A line in the song that has caused speculation about its meaning is "I'm just mad about Fourteen", and in one live version, he even sings, "I'm just mad about fourteen year old girls; they're mad about me." The song is also rumoured to be about smoking dried banana skins, which was believed to be an hallucinogenic drug in the 1960s. According to Donovan's notes accompanying the album, Donovan's Greatest Hits, the rumour that one could get high from smoking dried banana skins was started by Country Joe McDonald in 1966, and was first reported three weeks before "Mellow Yellow" was released as a single.
Thus, the misconception of the song's meaning followed its release. It has been said that the song's title actually refers to the fact that Donovan had suffered from liver disease in the winter of 1966 and had become severely jaundiced. Donovan has denied this, inferring it is about something a bit more graphic: a 14-year old girl named Saffron with a yellow dildo. Paul McCartney is said to have sung background vocals on "Mellow Yellow" as a thank-you for Donovan's background vocals on "Yellow Submarine" - Donovan actually came up with the line, "Sky of blue, sea of green." Hear the song online
Gimme Some Lovin' - Spencer Davis Group
One of the Spencer Davis Group's most memorable singles, this song was remixed for US release with added percussion and a female chorus, becoming the first American hit for The Spencer Davis Group (they already had a No.1 the previous year in the UK with "Keep On Running.") In 1980 The Blues Brothers returned this song to the American Top 20 when their cover from the soundtrack of The Blues Brothers reached No.18. Words and music are by Steve Winwood, Muff Winwood and Spencer Davis. In a Rolling Stone magazine interview, bassist Muff Winwood has said, "Steve (Winwood) had been singing, 'Gimme some lovin',' just yelling anything. It took about an hour to write, then down the pub for lunch." View the video online
Happy Together - The Turtles
This song was written by Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, who were the bass player and drummer of the Boston group The Magicians. Bonner and Gordon also wrote other Turtles hits like "She'd Rather Be With Me" as well as "Celebrate" by Three Dog Night. In spite of its title and happy sound, "Happy Together" is about unrequited love. The line in the fadeout, "How is the weather?" refers to the real level of their relationship being nothing more but passing acquaintances with small talk. The Turtles were formed by Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan who were saxophone players. They played surf-rock, acoustic folk, whatever was big at the time, and in addition to their own bands, played backup for The Coasters, Sonny & Cher and The Righteous Brothers. After a while, they gave up sax and became singers, signing a record deal as The Crosswind Singers.
When British groups like The Beatles made it big in America, they tried to pass themselves off as British singers and renamed themselves The Tyrtles. The record company made them change the name to The Turtles, and tried to make them sound like The Byrds, who were leaders of the folk-rock trend. Like The Byrds had done before, The Turtles recorded a Bob Dylan song for their first single - "It Ain't Be Babe." They had a few more minor hits, and turned down a chance to record "Eve Of Destruction," which became a No.1 hit for Barry McGuire. After many other artists passed on "Happy Together," The Turtles decided to record it in an effort to change their image. The group disbanded in 1970. View the video online
Groovin' - The Young Rascals (right)
Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigatti wrote this song after they realized that, because of their work schedule, they could see their girlfriends only on Sunday afternoons. The record company executives who worked on "Groovin'" didn't particularly like the song, but influential New York DJ, Murray the K, overheard it and pronounced it a No.1 record. Unbeknown to the group, Murray went to Atlantic Records president Jerry Wexler and demanded it be released. As the program manager and top DJ on the first FM rock station (WOR-FM), Murray the K had that kind of clout, not to mention the rare ability to connect with listeners and recognize what songs would become hits. Contrary to what is widely believed, this song, which epitomises the "Summer of Love" during which it was released, is not about a threesome! The lyric is: "Life will be ecstasy...you and me and Leslie ...Groovin'" - "Leslie" is actually Felix's Leslie speaker. View the video online
Respect - Aretha Franklin
Otis Redding wrote this song and originally recorded it in 1965. His version reached No.35 in the US but flopped in Australia. Redding's version consisted of only verses, no chorus or bridge. Aretha appropriated King Curtis's sax solo from Sam and Dave's "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby," which he recorded the previous night for Stax Records, and used that for the bridge. It was in fact Aretha's idea to cover this song. She came up with the arrangement and added the "Sock it to me" lines. She recorded it in New York City with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, a group of four studio musicians. They went on to work with Wilson Pickett, Paul Simon, Bob Seger and The Staples Singers. The lyric "Take care, TCB" is often misheard. "TCB" means "Taking Care of Business." Aretha's line, "Sock it to me," which is a sexual reference, became a catch phrase on the TV show Laugh In in the '70s. The song has been used in many movies, including Platoon, Forrest Gump, Mystic Pizza, The Blues Brothers and Back To School. View the video online
Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon - Neil Diamond (right)
The first of a string of hits in the late 1960s for Neil Diamond, who had written the song many years earlier. This song appears on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, as performed by Urge Overkill. Other versions have been done by the Biddu Orchestra (on their 1978 album, Journey to the Moon) and Cliff Richard. Diamond wrote this one for the ladies which made up most of his fan base. David Wild wrote in his book He Is...I Say: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neil Diamond, "When Diamond first recorded the slow, seductively sensitive song in 1967, it solidified his growing connection with his female fan base, manyu of whom are apparently still following him all these years later, even if they are no longer properly addressed as 'girl.' Diamond has said that the song was written for all those teenaged girls who would show up at his earliest tour dates and vocally express their tremendous support." View the video online
Somebody To Love - Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane was the 'flagship' act for the burgeoning psychedelic music scene that developed in San Francisco in the mid-1960s. They were the first San Francisco group to perform at a dance concert the famous 'happening' at the Longshoremen's Hall in October 1965. They were the first to sign a contract with a major record label, the first to appear on national television, the first to score hit records and the first to tour to the US East Coast and Europe. Throughout the late 1960s Jefferson Airplane was one of the most sought-after (and highly-paid) concert acts in the world, their records sold in great quantities.
Written by Great Society guitarist Darby Slick and first performed by that band, this song initially made little impact outside of the club circuit in the San Francisco Bay area. When Darby's sister, Grace, departed Great Society to join the Airplane, she took this song with her. Subsequently, the Airplane's more ferocious rock and roll version became the band's first and biggest hit and the anthem of the "Summer of Love" when as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco in the Summer of 1967, creating a phenomenon of cultural and political rebellion. Driven by Slick's forceful vocal, the song's hard-rock sound stood out among the group's more folk-oriented psychedelia that made up most of the album. The song later became a staple on album oriented rock and classic rock radio. Rolling Stone ranked Jefferson Airplane's version at No.274 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. View the video online
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison (right)
Written and recorded in 1967 by Northern Irish singer-songwriter, George Ivan (Van) Morrison, this song was produced by Bang Records chief Bert Berns. After the break up of his band, Them, Van Morrison hastily signed a contract with Bang Records. During a two day recording session starting 28th March 1967, he recorded eight songs intended to be used as four singles. This song was originally titled "Brown-Skinned Girl" but Morrison later changed it to "Brown Eyed Girl" because he felt it sounded better. Its nostalgic lyrics about a former love were considered too suggestive at the time to be played on many radio stations.
A radio-edit of the song was released which excised the lyrics "making love in the green grass," replacing them with "laughin' and a-runnin'" from a previous verse. This edited version appears on some copies of the compilation album The Best of Van Morrison. Morrison's original recording of "Brown Eyed Girl" remains widely familiar today, as it seems to be firmly ensconced in the playlists of most "oldies" and "classic rock" radio stations. Due to the contract he signed with Bang Records without legal advice, Morrison has never (in his own words) received any royalties for writing or recording this song.
The contract made him liable for virtually all recording expenses incurred for all of his Bang Records recordings. Royalties would be paid later, after the expenses were recouped - these expenses would later become the "subject of some highly creative accounting." Morrison has vented his frustration in a wryly humourous and sarcastic nonsense song "The Big Royalty Check", on his 1968 Contractual Obligation album. In November 2005 Morrison was awarded a Million-Air certificate by Broadcast Music Incorporated for reaching 7,000,000 US radio and television airplays for 'Brown Eyed Girl'. View the video online
Ode to Billie Joe - Bobbie Gentry (right)
This song is one of the better known compositions of singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry (born Roberta Lee Streeter) who hailed from from Chickasaw County, Mississippi. Although recounted as a first person narrative, the Southern Gothic tale is revealed through the dialogue of others. The mysteries surrounding the characters in the story created a cultural sensation on the song's release. In 1975, Gentry told author Herman Raucher that she hadn't come up with a reason for Billie Joe's suicide when she wrote the song.
She has stated in numerous interviews over the years that the focus of the song was not the suicide itself, but rather the matter-of-fact way that the narrator's family was discussing the tragedy over dinner, unaware that Billie Joe had been her boyfriend. Gentry's recording of "Ode to Billie Joe" generated eight Grammy nominations, including four wins. Bolstered by a perfectly judged arrangement of strings and acoustic guitar, the single creates a haunting and atmospheric universe in a category all its own. The song's popularity proved so enduring that in 1976, nine years after its release, Warner Bros. commissioned author Herman Raucher to adapt it into a novel and screenplay, Ode to Billy Joe (note different spelling).
The poster's tagline, which treats the film as being based on actual events and even gives a date of death for Billy (3rd June 1953), led many to believe that the song was based on an actual event. In fact, when Raucher met Bobbie Gentry in preparation for writing the novel and screenplay, she confessed that she herself had no idea why Billie killed himself. In Raucher's novel and screenplay, Billy Joe kills himself after realising he is homosexual, and the object thrown from the bridge is the narrator's ragdoll. View the video online
Puppet on a String - Sandie Shaw
Barefoot English songstress Sandie Shaw (born Sandra Ann Goodrich) was a 17 year old IBM operator working at Ford Motor Company's Dagenham plant when she appeared on the bill at a concert with his group (she had gained the place in the concert for coming second in a local talent quest). After the show, she met The Hollies and Adam Faith, who was impressed by her, introduced her to his manager Eve Taylor, and within a 2 weeks she had a recording contract and adopted the stage name Sandie Shaw, said to be a play on the fact she loved to sing barefoot (because one walks barefoot on a sandy sea shore). Her first big hit, released in September 1964, was "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me", which was her second single.
She won the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest singing this song, making her the first Briton to with the prestigious competition. It was her thirteenth single release and fourth to reach No.1. Puppet on a String is also the name of her third full-priced album, released on the Pye label in May 1967 on the back of her Eurovision success. Shaw had originally performed the song as one of five prospective numbers to represent the United Kingdom in the Song Contest on The Rolf Harris Show. She had never been taken with the idea of taking part in the contest but her discoverer, Adam Faith had talked her into it. Her manager Eve Taylor was wanting to give Shaw a more cabaret appeal and felt that this was the right move - and also felt that it would get Shaw back in the public's good books as she had recently been involved in a divorce scandal.
Of the five songs performed, "Puppet on a String" was Shaw's least favourite. In her own words "I hated it from the very first oompah to the final bang on the big bass drum. I was instinctively repelled by its sexist drivel and cuckoo-clock tune." She was disappointed when it was selected as the song she would use to represent the country. Shaw won the contest hands down, though it has always been felt that this was partly down to her existing popularity on the continent (she had recorded most of her previous hit singles in French, Italian, German and Spanish). Bill Martin and Phil Coulter admitted to having written the song deliberately in the style of oompah band music as a ploy to win favour in Continental Europe. View the Eurovision Contest win online
Never My Love - The Association
In late 1966 Warner Bros. Records, which had been distributing Valiant, bought the smaller label (and with it, The Association's contract). At about the same time, Jules Alexander right the band; he was replaced by Larry Ramos who had played with The New Christy Minstrels and recorded a solo single for Columbia Records. With the lineup settled, the group returned to the studio, this time with Bones Howe in the producer's chair. The first fruits of this pairing would be the single "Windy", that was followed closely by the album, Insight Out. The group's winning streak in the US continued with their next single, "Never My Love" written by Don and Dick Addrisi. It was a hit worldwide. View the video online
I Dig Rock and Roll Music - Peter, Paul and Mary
Realising that folk music was dying a quick death, Peter, Paul & Mary chose this song to make their short-lived transition into mainstream pop, leaving behind their folk roots just as Bob Dylan had done a year or so warlier. Written by James Mason, Dave Dixon and PP&M member Paul Stookey, the song unashamedly declares the group's love of pop music. Among the things it declares about rock 'n' roll songs is that the meanings of the lyrics are often hidden, because if the real meanings were made clear, the songs would not be given airplay. It was first released on PP&M's 7th album, Late Again.
It forms the final third of a trilogy, with Album and Album 1700. These were the last three really good studio albums released by PP&M before they "retired."
Late Again is a continuation of the eclecticism that marked most of the trio's albums after In The Wind, and saw PP&M following Bob Dylan away from folk music, which by then was in its death throes. With this album, they made the seamless transition from accoustic folk to plugged-in folk-rock, and in so doing, showed themselves to be masters of popular music in its many forms of expression. Late Again would be their last album of new songs before going their separate ways; they would never make it into the folk-rock era of the 1970s that this album helped pioneer. View the video online
I Say A Little Prayer For You - Dionne Warwick (right)
A Burt Bacharach and Hal David composition, the pair wrote many of Warwick's hits, including "Walk On By" and "Do You Know The Way To San Jose." Hal David did not want to release this recording as he felt the tempo was too fast and it would flop. These days, whenever Bacharach is asked what is the best verion of any of his hits, he always brings up Aretha Franklin's version of "Prayer". The song's success has been credited with the fact that its lyrics resonated with wives and girlfriends whose men were fighting in Vietnam. Franklin recorded a cover version a year after Warwick. Franklin's version was a massive hit in the UK, where Dionne Warwick's version had been a flop. In the UK, Dionne Warwick is best known for "Walk On By". The B-side of the single was "Theme From Valley Of The Dolls," which Warwick recorded for the movie of the same name. View the video of Aretha Franklin's version online
I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Gladys Knight & The Pips / Marvin Gaye (right)
Listed as No.80 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs, this Motown classic about a man who finds out his woman is cheating on him was written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield. Strong came up with the idea and asked Motown writers Holland-Dozier-Holland to work on it with him. They refused to credit another writer, so Strong took it to Whitfield, who helped put it together. It was originally written on a $40 piano with only 10 working keys. Gaye sang this slightly higher than his normal range, which created the strained vocal.
Whitfield, who produced this, made him do it over and over until he got it right. When Gordy refused to release Gaye's version, Whitfield recorded it with a new Motown singer, Gladys Knight. He got her version released, and it became a No.2 hit in the US, which led Gordy to reconsider and release Gaye's version. The latter became a hit in Australia. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (who later released it on their Special Occasion LP) and The Isley Brothers (their version is still unreleased) in fact recorded the song before both Knight and Gaye. Creedence Clearwater Revival released an 11-minute version of the song in 1970. It was one of the few songs CCR recorded that the group's lead singer John Fogerty didn't write. It is a showcase for the guitar artistry of Fogerty and the tightness of a very good band. View the video online
Judy in Disguise (with Glasses) - John Fred & His Playboy Band
This song is a parody of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," which The Beatles released a year earlier. Instead of the psychedelic sound of the Beatles song, this was Bubblegum Pop, but with similarly obtuse lyrics. It was written by John Fred Gourrier, the singer. He died 15th April 2005, age 63, due to complications from a kidney transplant. Gourrier once said in an interview that the first time he heard "Lucy In The Sky", he thought it was "Lucy in disguise", which he thought was a very cool idea, so when he found out it wasn't that, he decided to write a song based on what he originally thought he had heard. The song's arrangement parodies the psychedelic sounds and orgasmic moans of Sgt. Pepper. Lyrically it has nothing to do with The Beatles, but rather describes a woman's fascination with cosmetics and jewelry, which was what Fred first thought The Beatles' song was about. Hear the song online
Hello, Goodbye - The Beatles (right)
This song was released as the Christmas single for 1967, and topped the charts around the world, including Australia. Though the songwriting credit is Lennon/McCartney, it was written only by Paul McCartney. John Lennon wasn't fond of the song, calling it "three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions." His distaste for it grew further when it pushed "I Am the Walrus" to the B-side of the single. Paul McCartney and George Martin believed that "Hello, Goodbye" was the more commercial tune (their judgement was vindicated when the song hit No.1).
The dispute which began with this song fed a series of debates over single releases between Lennon and McCartney and prompted Lennon to say after the Beatles' breakup, "I got sick and tired of being Paul's backup band". Lennon felt that some of his best and most innovative pieces ("I Am the Walrus", "Across the Universe") were wrongly placed as B-sides to songs he regarded as unworthy ("Hello, Goodbye" and "Lady Madonna"). The final lines of the song, where the entire band sings "Hela, hey-ba hello-a" came spontaneously in the studio. When the song was released, McCartney gave a mystical explanation of the meaning of his song: "The answer to everything is simple. It's a song about everything and nothing. If you have black you have to have white. That's the amazing thing about life." View the video online
Bend Me, Shape Me - The American Breed
The American Breed was an inter-racial rock band, that was formed in 1966 and disbanded in 1969. The group's greatest success was this single. The song was written by Scott English and Larry Weiss and was a remake of a recording by The Outsiders that had been released the year before. All group members were from the greater Chicago area. The band put five singles on the US charts, including "Step Out Of Your Mind", "Green Light" and "Bend Me, Shape Me". They disbanded the following year. View the video online
All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
This Beatles No. 1 hit was written by John Lennon with contributions from Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon/McCartney. It was first performed by The Beatles on Our World, the first ever live global television link. Screened in 26 countries and viewed by 350 million people, the programme was broadcast via satellite on 25th June 1967. The BBC had commissioned the Beatles to write a song for the UK's contribution and this was the result. Asked to come up with a song containing a simple message that would be understood by viewers of all nationalities, Lennon's "All You Need is Love" extended the message that he had first tried to put across in "The Word", from their 1965 album, Rubber Soul. Lennon was fascinated by the power of slogans to unite people and was never afraid to create art out of propaganda.
When asked in 1971 whether songs like "Give Peace a Chance" and "Power to the People" were propaganda songs, he answered, "Sure. So was 'All You Need Is Love'. I'm a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change." Because of the setting of a worldwide satellite broadcast, the song was deliberately given an international feel, opening with the French anthem "La Marseillaise", and including snatches of several other pieces during the long fade-out, including 2-part Invention No.8 in F by Johann Sebastian Bach (transposed to G and played on 2 piccolo trumpets), "Greensleeves" (played by the strings), Glenn Miller's "In The Mood" (played on a saxophone), one of The Beatles' seminal hits, "She Loves You" (spontaneously ad-libbed by John and Paul), and Jeremiah Clarke's "Prince of Denmark's March" lilting off at the end.
George Harrison flubbed his guitar solo and, in keeping with the band's wacky sense of humor and carefree spontaneity, they right it on the record as if he did it on purpose. For the TV appearance The Beatles were playing along with a pre-recorded track, which is why you hear a bass even though Paul is sitting there without one. John Lennon's hand-written lyrics for this song sold for £1 Million in the summer of 2005. Lennon right them in the BBC studios after The Beatles' last live TV appearance, and they were salvaged by an employee. Look for a young Mick Jagger sitting in the crowd. View the video online
There's a Kind of Hush - Herman's Hermits (right)
The best-known version of the song, written by Les Reed and Geoff Stephens, is by Herman's Hermits, who took it to No.1 worldwide, eclipsing an earlier version which had been released by Gary and the Hornets that had garnered regional success in the United States. Nine years later, the song was a worldwide smash again for The Carpenters, who extended the title to include almost the entire first line of the lyric: "There's A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)".
Richard Carpenter explained in the liner notes to the Carpenters' 2004 best-of compilation, Gold, that although he and Karen Carpenter loved the song, he was not particularly pleased with how their remake turned out: "... one of Karen's and my favorite songs from the '60s. In hindsight, however, even though our version was a hit, I wish we'd never recorded it. Here are three reasons why: (1) The original was, and is, perfectly fine. (2) Our foray into the oldies should have ended with the medley featured on side 2 of [the duo's hit LP] Now & Then, 1973. (3) The use of a synthesizer in some of our recordings has not worn well with me, on this track, or just about any other track on which I used it." View the video online
Woman, Woman - Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
This song was written by Americans Jimmy Payne and Jim Glaser. Both Jimmy and Jim have also recorded the song which was a million seller for Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. The story goes that when the band was trying to promote this song, they took it to WLS Radio in Chicago and WLS listened to it ... and refused to play it because they said it was too "dirty". From time to time, Gary Puckett dedicates this song to WLS and tells the story to audiences. The group's name came from the localityof Union Gap, Washington, near the US city of Yakima. View the video online
It Must Be Him - Vikki Carr
Lifted from the 1967 album, It Must Be Him, this song by Mack David and Gilbert Bécaud and translated into English by Maurice Vidalin, is the singer's most successful English-language release. Vikki Carr was born in El Paso, Texas as Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona. She has sung in a variety of music genres, including jazz, pop and country, but has enjoyed her greatest success singing in Spanish. In 1966 she toured Vietnam with actor/comedian Danny Kaye. The following year her album It Must Be Him was nominated for three Grammy Awards. She released two other songs that made the U.S. Top 40: 1968's "The Lesson" and 1969's "With Pen in Hand." Around this time, Dean Martin called her "the best girl singer in the business." In 1970, Carr was named "Woman of the Year" by The Los Angeles Times. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981. Carr had 10 singles which made the U.S. pop charts, but in Australia, "It Must Be Him" was her only success. View the video online